IBM is increasing the pressure on Google in the battle to commercialize quantum computing technology.
Quantum computers hold the promise of being able to solve difficult problems from fields such as chemistry and material science that are currently beyond the reach of the most powerful conventional supercomputers. They may also one day render current encryption techniques obsolete.
IBM said Friday it has created a prototype 50 qubit quantum computer. A machine this size is believed to be close to the threshold at which it could perform tasks beyond the reach of conventional supercomputers — a major milestone in computer science.
FIBM is in a race with Google, which says it plans to show a similarly-sized machine by the end of the year.